World No1 Rory McIlroy’s Open defence is in grave doubt after he severely jeopardised his participation at St Andrews next week by rupturing ankle ligaments while playing football.
Read more: Rory absence would be Major let-down
McIlroy yesterday refused to rule himself out of the tournament, but will miss this week’s Scottish Open and looks unlikely to tee off at the season’s third Major.
The Northern Irishman’s absence would deny golf a much-anticipated duel between him and Jordan Spieth, the 21-year-old American who shot to prominence by winning the Masters and US Open this year.
McIlroy, 26, announced the injury by posting a picture on social media showing him on crutches with his left leg in a protective boot. “Total rupture of left ankle ligament and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday,” he wrote. “Continuing to assess extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started. Working hard to get back as soon as I can.”
The four-time Major winner was scheduled to undergo further medical examination yesterday and today in an attempt to boost his slim chances of retaining the Claret Jug.
If doctors confirm the worst, McIlroy could also be a doubt for the US PGA Championship, which takes place at Whistling Straits from 13 to 16 August. Ruptured ankle ligaments can take up to 12 weeks to heal.